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Photography Tips: Hand Modeling 101

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The Insight

Imagine this, you’re photographing a product and you discover something is missing. You’ve concluded that you need to add a human element, but not just any human element, a hand. You may be thinking, no big deal, I’ll just ask whoever is available.

Well, I’m here to tell you, not all hands are created equal, people!

Qualities of a good hand model
  • Narrow and slender fingers
  • A smooth/clear complexion
  • Minimal freckles and blemishes on the hands
  • Ability to hold objects steady for long periods
The importance of a good manicure

Hand models should always get their nails done the day before the shoot. Nail color is extremely important in hand modeling! As a photographer, you will want to assign the color to your hand models, so their nails complement the product you are shooting. There’s nothing worse than creating a beautiful, neutral themed set-up and realizing the model’s nails are neon pink. Also, express to the model that the manicure must be of the highest quality. This means a clean, beautifully shaped nail and exfoliated hands.

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

A hand model’s hands must be extra moisturized. Any cracking or dryness will show up in the photos and will be very hard to fix during editing. The night before the shoot models should lotion their hands and sleep in cotton gloves overnight. This will make their hand retain the moisture all night, and they will wake up with beautifully soft hands that are photo-ready!

Make sure your model is as comfortable as possible

As a hand model, you will often be required to keep your hands very still in certain positions. Often, you will also be asked to hold your body in somewhat uncomfortable positions to get the shot. As a photographer, make sure you do whatever you can to make your model feel as comfortable as possible. That might mean grabbing them a chair, setting up a fan for airflow, or providing them breaks for their arm or hand to rest.